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No matter how frozen you may be, you cannot help but be soothed by the warmth of sun falling behind the horizon.

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Photograph by Travis Brasfield


Fishing-Headquarters Magazine Volume 2. Issue 1 Num. 7

December 2011, January & February 2012 Winter Edition

About the Fishing-Headquarters The Fishing-Headquarters began as a small homepage featuring a collection of photos and YouTube fishing videos. It even featured a small contingency of misfits and rebellious anglers who were tired of the internet elitism and racism expressed by other websites towards specific groups of anglers and species of freshwater gamefish.

• Underwater Surveillance Mission . . . . . . . 13 • Wendorf’s Steelhead Sonnet . . . . . . . . . . . 23 • Back East Chain Pickerel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 • Trips and Destinations: Surfin’ for Sharks 47

Formally established in January 2007, the FHQ was created for like-minded anglers to share the wealth of information, and enjoy the beauty in diverse fishing. This greatness as we presently know it is multi-species fishing.

• Glide Time Muskies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

Designed and created by posessed and gravely obsessed angler, Andrew Ragas, the website has grown to a large world audience. Our basis as an online media platform is to drop the ego, and catch anything that swims and has fins.

• A Guide to Fishing New Waters . . . . . 103

• Asian Carp: A Great Lakes Epidemic . . . . . 81

All fish are created as equals. Only to be pursued as opposites.

COVER STORY Important Biz Stuff http://www.fishing-headquarters.com info@fishing-headquarters.com telephone - 708. 256. 2201 Questions or Comments, and if interested in contributing or sponsoring, please contact Andrew Ragas at: andrew@fishing-headquarters.com Magazine layout and design by Ragas Media http://www.ragasmedia.com �

Pictured on the Issue-7 cover is Fishing-Headquarters blogger, contributor, and monster fish expert, David Graham. Generally, we like to give every one of our readers and contributors an opportunity to be featured on our front cover. However, this was too good of a subject to not showcase! In September, David traveled to Florida for his brother’s beachside wedding. Along the way, he rounded up a few sharks along the surf. If warm climate fishing is on your mind this winter, be sure to read his unique story on page 47.


Fishing-Headquarters Issue-7 Hard to believe that it has already been a full year since our online magazine began in November, 2010. When you’re out fishing several times a month like we are, it’s hard to realize that time is being forgotten about, and how it can be taken for granted. Time really flies when fishing.

Andrew Ragas

Editor In-Chief, Designer, and Owner.

2012 Issue Releases Remaining Schedule

• Issue 8: March 1, 2012 • Issue 9: May 1, 2012 • Issue 10: July 1, 2012 • Issue 11: September 1, 2012 • Issue 12: December 1, 2012

Click to Subscribe

To open our second season, we introduce Issue-7 which covers the winter months of December - January - February. Since we aren’t much of an ice fishing authority, this release encompasses all subjects including both ice fishing and open water. Highlighted is ice fishing champion, Tony Boshold, and the secrets to his success. In addition, we also showcase subjects such as specialty trips and winter destinations as well as other pursuits that can be enjoyed during the winter months. For instance, who wouldn’t want to affordably fish the Florida beaches and its warm climate for sharks during winter? Thank you for reading our seventh issue of Fishing-Headquarters Magazine. Please enjoy the winter down-time. We sincerely hope that you enjoy immersing yourselves deeply into the writings and photographs. Each Issue 7 contributor has brought his own unique story to share with all. We are actively searching for more advertisers, sponsors, and assistance for 2012, our second season. Help is always needed and without it who knows how much longer we can do this. If interested in partnering up with our 1-year-old publication, PLEASE contact us today! Copyright © 2012 Fishing-Headquarters. All rights reserved. The usage of articles, excerpts, photographs, and any reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited.

ISSUE 7 FEATURED WRIT

Andrew Ragas

David Graham

Todd Wendorf


Special Contributors • Ted Pilgrim Contributed Photographs • Travis Brasfield • Pat Halko • Tom Harris • Kenny Lookingbill • Bill Lindner Photography • Bill Pohlmann • Jacob Saylor • Nate Tessler • Frank Weilnhammer Issue 7 Editorial Staff • Paul Ragas Layout and Design By • Ragas Media Designs Sponsors and Advertising Partners • Bearpaw’s Handpoured Baits • CB’s Hawg Sauce • Cortland Line • Go-Pro Camera • Heartland Outdoors • MC Custom Rods Inc. • Quantum Fishing • Ragas Media Designs • Sims Spinners Inc. • Stankx Bait Company • Time on the Water Outdoors

TERS AND CONTRIBUTORS

Jim Gronaw

Bryan Blazek

Tony Boshold


NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY TOPICS. AWESOME Deals For Fishermen By Our Designers. Ragas Media, a Chicago-based design & production company that designs websites including Fishing-Headquarters and this magazine, is taking on new clients for the upcoming spring months. Clients include fishermen, tackle companies, businesses and more. Rates are excellently affordable and quality is second to none. Visit them online. http://www.ragasmedia.com

GoPro HD Hero2: Professional Power to the People. NEW for 2012. GoPro cameras are used by more professional athletes, sports filmmakers and core enthusiasts than any other camera in the world. The HD HERO2 is the most advanced GoPro camera yet. Whether your goal is to capture a great day out with friends or you’re gunning for the cover of a magazine, the HD HERO2 can help you nail it and look like a HERO. msrp $299 http://www.goprocamera.com

Time on the Water Outdoors: Skeeter Boats Dealer. Time on the Water Outdoors has added the complete line of Skeeter Boats to it’s product offering. Check out the Skeeter Bass Boats, their new expanded line of multi-species boats, saltwater boats, and the Skeeter Fish n Ski. Skeeter joins their already impressive line of boats; Bass Cat, Alumacraft, Sea Ark, and Premiere pontoons. http://www.timeonthewateroutdoors.com

Quantum’s Generation EXO Rods and Reels. Welcome to Generation EXO, where addition is achieved by subtraction. At this year’s I-CAST show held in Las Vegas in July, Quantum introduced a new concept to fishing reels: Where a simple exoskeletal design sheds excess weight without sacrificing strength and performance. Available this fall in spinning and baitcasting models for $249 (baitcast) and $199 (spinning). http://www.quantumfishing.com Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Smallmouth Bass on the Fly Wisconsin River, Oneida County


SOLUNAR CALENDAR December 2011

January 2012 Due to date of publication, calendars for 2012 have yet to be published or made available for use.

This fishing forecast is based on solar and lunar influences that cycle daily. The chart shows each hour of the day. For instance the hours with the higher rating, and days shaded the darkest have a greater combination of solar and lunar influence and thus indicate the best times to fish. This chart is a general recommendation and all data has been compiled by Weather & Wildlife.

Fishing-Headquarters and its calendar source apologizes for this inconvenience.

NOTE: Due to limited space February 2012 calendar has been omitted. Fishing-Headquarters | Page 6


LEADING OFF. This photograph, taken at Belmont Harbor, does a lot in representing the textures of winter here in Chicago. Let’s start at the top and work our way down: Cloudy, grey skies = check Bare branches = check Wavy Lake Michigan = check Snow covered shore = check Ice glazed steps = check Icicles = check Anyone up for the Polar Plunge in 2012?

Photograph by Tom Harris Fishing-Headquarters.com

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LEADING OFF. On Ice With 2005 North American Ice Fishing Champion, Tony Boshold. Tony Boshold says that despite reluctance from many anglers, plastics like his favorite Northland Bloodworm and Little Atom Nuggies select for the biggest bluegills and crappies available. “Small fish might just nudge and sniff ‘em, but the bigger specimens absolutely gobble these baits up,” he says.

Photograph by Bill Lindner Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Underw

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water Surveillance Mission Champion Ice Angler Discusses his Favorite ‘Fish Finder’ Ted Pilgrim & Tony Boshold

Ice fishing ace Tony Boshold sees the big picture. Give the world champion angler an auger and an underwater camera in the morning, and later that day, he’ll have discovered the lion’s-share of a lake’s secrets.

Ice angling champ Tony Boshold poses with one of his pets, located and enticed with his favorite ‘fish finder.” Photograph by Bill Lindner Fishing Headquarters | Page 14


UNDERWATER SURVEILLANCE

er, as underwater cameras earn the status of ‘standard equipment.’ “There’s only one way to discover and really learn the best spots in a lake,” says Boshold. “Fishing each hole takes time, but the camera gives me an instant thumbs-up or down. If fish are there, there’s no hiding from the lens—I see ‘em right now. And the other key is that MarCum’s high-resolution color LCD shows me fish and cover in detail you can’t get with other systems. Makes a huge difference. Lots of people think the camera is a great fish-catching tool— and it is—but it might be the best fish-finding tool on ice.”

going to find a school of fish no one else is targeting. That alone is worth the price of admission.” For Boshold, the willingness to power-drill and then check each hole with his underwater camera is simply the best way to find tournament-winning pods of fish. Even when he’s set up on a certain spot, Boshold continues using his favorBy: Ted Pilgrim & Tony ite ‘fish finder.’ Boshold “I use the Auto Camera PanSpecial Contributors ning accessory that comes with my MarCum to suspend the lens at any depth, using the remote control to search the terrain all around my position. I’m scanning for the bigany of the top anglers gest expanses of lively vegetation, fishing the competitive ice fishing as well as fish in the distance. The circuit these days utilize a MarCum Cameras as Fish-Finders directional arrow on the screen also camera—including reigning NAIFC lets me track fish schools, as they Team-of-the-Year Champs Jacek “I especially love it when I’m move across the weeds. Gawlinski and Zibi Wojcik. Yet on a lake with huge 5 to 20 foot “Look for a mixture of vegetafewer anglers than you’d think emu- flats; I know it’s only a matter of tion, rather than just, say, all coonlate Boshold and the Polish tandem time before I’ll find a mass herd of tail, spread across an entire flat. – disappearing into the horizon, dip- bluegills, crappies or perch. Might From there, we look for those little ping the camera lens beneath an un- seem like a needle-in-a-haystack to open trenches or circles of sand beending string of predrilled ice holes. some fishermen. But to me, it’s in- tween the veg. Another spot that has That’s gradually changing, howev- evitable—the camera is eventually produced tournament winning ‘gills

M

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Photograph by Bill Lindner

is a little 2-foot rise in the weedflat. Might only be the size of a pickup truck, but it can hold mega fish. Same thing with dips, where bottom drops a few feet. Major ‘‘gillage.’

MarCum VS 825c color underwater viewing system

Cameras as Fish-Catchers As Boshold will tell you, locating fish under the ice remains the most important hurdle in the pursuit. There are plenty of times when panfish and other species feed with all the enthusiasm of a turtle. Good luck detecting subtle nips and ticks with even an expertly honed sense of feel. If Boshold needs another layer of bite-detection, there’s a good chance you do as well. “On a tough bite, you can get nipped dozens of times without feeling a thing,” he reveals. “Until you’ve watched selective bluegills or perch inhale, mouth, or delicately nip at your lure on the screen, you won’t detect or hook nearly as many fish as you could. The first time you see it, but don’t feel it on your line, you can hardly believe the number of fish you’ve been missing. Panfish are used to eating tiny things

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UNDERWATER SURVEILLANCE that are weightless in water; they can feed with a bare minimum of effort.” Along these lines, one of Boshold’s all-time sweetest lure tricks is something he calls the “bump-and-flutter.” He starts with a small, yet weighty tungsten jig, such as a 4mm Fiskas Wolfram or Northland Hard-Rock Mooska Jig dressed with a Little Atom Jumbo Nuggie. A foot above the jig, he ties in an 8-inch dropper line and a #10 to #16 nymph, such as a gold-ribbed Hare’s Ear or midge imitation. “The tungsten jig shoots to the bottom fast, while the little fly flutters slowly behind. It’s absolutely weightless in water, so fish can easily breathe it into their mouths. Finicky panfish absolutely devour the fly. Yet even then, the strike itself isn’t often felt on your line. But the camera screen shows all. You’ll catch every fish that bites, while anglers around you fishing without a camera will swear there isn’t a fish to be caught. And that’s just fine with me,” he says with a wink.

Marcum 820 B&W underwater camera >>

Meet Tony Boshold “I eat, sleep and drink fishing. I like long walks with the family. We have two dogs, Jackson a Yorkie/Ahpso (aka hong kong fuey and the 1,000 tounge slaps) and Skruffy a Schnoodle, aka the yapper). Two cats, Stormy (Katrina rescue) she’s like a dog and Bucca (yes, like Sambucca). A painted turtle named Sheldine we “rescued” him from out back. And of course a fish who likes me best. I was born and raised in Chicago’s north west side. I work hard and play harder. I never give up, must have something to do with being a Cubs fan. I wear my heart on my sleeve.” Get to know more about Tony by visiting www.naifc.com Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Coupled with a portable Camera Panner, a MarCum underwater camera allows anglers to scan the entire underwater landscape. Photograph by Bill Lindner

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UNDERWATER SURVEILLANCE

Underwater cameras, such as the MarCum vs625sd, aren’t just premium ‘fish finders,’ they’re the ultimate fish-catchers, too. Photograph by Bill Lindner Fishing-Headquarters.com

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NEW WEBSITE COMING IN JANUARY 2012



By: Todd Wendorf

Fishing-Headquarters Contributor

Photograph by Todd Wendorf Fishing-Headquarters | Page 24


WENDORF‘S STEELHEAD SONNET

The crack of the slammer was still careening down the river banks … but he already knew this was no ordinary fish! The steady pounding on the rod, the line screaming down the hole, and the look in the angler’s eyes all said the same thing … this silver bullet was on a mission! Photograph by Joe Bucher

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Photograph by Todd Wendorf

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WENDORF‘S STEELHEAD SONNET

Lift and reel, lift and reel … bury the rod tip in the hole as the “chromer” takes another run. One, two, three magnificent runs. He’s sure she can’t have much left! Slowly making headway, he breathes a slight sigh of relief. Suddenly her crimson cheek appears in the hole. He sees the fish … she sees him … the drag screams. The battle continues. She saw the hole of death and refuses to surrender. Photograph by Joe Bucher

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Photograph by Todd Wendorf

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WENDORF‘S STEELHEAD SONNET

His forearms begin to ache; his resolve weakens with the line as it endures another long run and the constant scraping on the edge of the ice. He battles on thinking the end must be in sight, and it begins all over again with the longest run yet. Photograph by Joe Bucher

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Photograph by Todd Wendorf

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WENDORF‘S STEELHEAD SONNET

Finally, the exhausted steelhead succumbs. She’s lifted through the hole to an unfamiliar world. Two bright flashes of light, muffled sounds she can’t interpret, and suddenly she’s back in familiar surrounding. She sees the darkness of a familiar run and spends what energy she has left to reach it. Still and silent, she breathes and tastes. She has indeed survived. Photograph by Joe Bucher

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Photograph by Todd Wendorf

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WENDORF‘S STEELHEAD SONNET

She’s older now. Wiser and stronger. The small ball of eggs approaching her looks suspicious. It shouldn’t just be hanging in the water … not flowing with the current. She passes this time, only to see a silver streak appear from behind her. It flashes to her left, shakes it head in anger, and disappears down the river. She sinks to the bottom, pauses, then slowly drifts to safer places. Photograph by Joe Bucher

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Photograph by Andrew Ragas

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Photograph by Todd Wendorf Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Todd Wendorf grew up in Northern Wisconsin and now calls McFarland, WI home. He is an avid bass fisherman who specializes in shore fishing, wading, float tubing, and kayak fishing. When not chasing Largemouth he focuses on Steelhead and Brown Trout in Southeastern Wisconsin harbors and tributaries. Read more about Todd’s fishing by visiting him online at:

http://needtofishmore.blogspot.com/

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FROG FISHING 101.


Winte

<< Bruce Condello, of big bluegill fame, scores a fine pickerel on ultra light gear. Photograph by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters.com

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er Chain Pickerel Chain Pickerel: The Poor Man’s Musky.

By: Jim Gronaw

Fishing-Headquarters Contributor

T

he fish just barely thumped my 32-nd ounce jig but immediately felt much heavier than the panfish I had been catching the past hour. Setting the hook, I felt that I would likely lose whatever was on the end of my two-pound test mono. My son Matt eased the boat out and away from the shoreline stickups and brush we had been fishing and tried to keep the wind from blowing us back to shore. All the while, I had to scramble, stern to bow, to keep the fish from getting either motor. Matt was looking for the net in one of the compartments, and finally came up with one as the fish finally surfaced and showed us his toothy maw…it

was a big chain pickerel that had my tiny jig just hooked on the tip of it’s snout! Meanwhile, the wind had kicked up again and we were headed right for some more shoreline brush. Matt got us back out of peril as I tried to keep pressure on the fish and get it back in close enough to get it in the net. Like all esox species, the fish seemed to have at least one last- ditch surge…several times. Matt made three attempts with the net, twice the fish slithered out, and on the third try it finally just collapsed in the belly of the rubber net, literally too long to fit like it should. But we got it in the boat! I felt as though we had accomplished the impossible…landing a big chain pickerel on 2-pound test line and a tiny panfish jig. The fish measured just over 25 inches and was easily my personal best. Later that day, we would have several more encounters with the toothy critters, with several more fish up to 24 inches, all on ultra light gear. Indeed, chain pickerel can be fun and exciting. It was not the first time these ’big snakes’ had caused a stir in my angling efforts. And as far as a winter target species goes, chain pickerel would have to be

high on the list for the cold weather angler throughout much of the MidAtlantic region. They are somewhat of the Rodney Dangerfield of freshwater fish…no respect, in the way, messing up the fishing and just not liked by many anglers seeking more ‘worthy’ gamefish. Me? I like ‘em! Back East Treasures Much like their larger cousins the northern pike, chain pickerel are active throughout the winter and prepare to spawn in February or March in much of the mid-Atlantic waters where they are found. They are a favorite among ice anglers in parts of the northeast and are a winter catch throughout tidewater Virginia, southern Delaware, much of New Jersey and down into the Carolinas. Although not noted for tablefare, I have eaten some caught through the ice and found them to be firm and flaky and of good taste. Record size fish vary from state to state, with a Pennsylvania record going 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Maryland lists a 7-9 pickerel and Delaware a 7-8. All of these fish are true monsters, with a world record of Fishing-Headquarters | Page 40


WINTER CHAIN PICKEREL 9 pounds, 3 ounces, coming from Back East Pickerel Hot-Spots Georgia. Most state citation requireIf you have a hankerin’ to slip out for some ‘big snakes’ this ments need fish of 4 pounds or 24 inches to get entry. Anything larger winter, then here are a few places that you might want to try in and around the Mid-Atlantic… is just a great fish in my eyes. Patterning Pickerel Classic winter pickerel patterns would be to look for fish near brush, logs, dying weed bed edges or incoming creek mouths that have not frozen over. Open water anglers can cast in-line spinners like Sims # 4 or #5’s, ¼ to 1 ounce spinner baits or simply a shad dart, tipped with a minnow, fished below a bobber. Some pickerel men just suspend large golden shiners, known regionally as ‘millroach’, below floats in and around visible cover during warm winter days and wait for a take. Ice fishermen utilize tip-ups with live minnows over sparse weed bed areas or in and around logs and laydowns on the lake floor. Some of the biggest pickerel of each winter season are caught by anglers fishing for bass or crappie in tidal flows in eastern seaboard states.

Deep Creek Lake, Western Maryland…This is one of the best icefishing spots in the nation for really big yellow perch. It also has an abundance of chain pickerel that seem to top out in the 24 inch range. Anglers using tip ups and minnows encounter them. The weed beds and point off of McHenry holds a lot of them during early ice. Pinchot Lake, Rossville, Pennsylvania…This 340 acre lake has a variety of popular gamefish and an overlooked population of trophy chain pickerel. Every year, 5 to nearly 7 pounders are caught either through the ice on from open water on mild winters. Minnows are the primary bait, but I have caught them here using panfish jigs for crappie. Loch Raven , Baltimore, Maryland…Surely a great and popular multispecies fishery, Loch Raven boasts a very good population of pickerel, and some trophy fish in the five pound range are in the mix. It may freeze in the winter, and ice fishing is not permitted here. But open water efforts are worthy in March and April or even as early as February if the winter is mild; a sleeper for big fish in my opinion. Pocomoke River, Snow Hill, Maryland…On a mild winter, anglers can enjoy a multi-species effort on this scenic Delmarva waterway with bass, crappie and pickerel as the quarry. Simple bobber/jig combos can lead to some excellent catches. I have seen numerous pickerel from this river that exceeded five pounds. Delmarva Mill Ponds, …Both Maryland and Delaware have a myriad of tidal flows that boast chain pickerel and some get big. Check out Concord Pond, Nanticoke River, Lake Bonnie, Choptank River and the ponds in and around Salisbury, Maryland, to include Johnson Pond. The Chickimicomico is another good, isolated bett for winter snakes. Tidewater Lakes of Southern Virginia… In and around Suffolk and Norfolk Virginia are several lakes that have great multi-species fishing to include big chains. Cahoon, Western Branch and Lake Prince offer good cold weather fishing for them and the bass and panfish aren’t at all shabby.

<< Sims Spinners #5 single. Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Much like their larger cousins the northern pike, chain pickerel are active throughout the winter and prepare to spawn in February or March in much of the mid-Atlantic waters where they are found. Pictured is Jim Gronaw with a 25 inch Chain Pickerel.

Photograph by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters | Page 42


WINTER CHAIN PICKEREL

Matt Gronaw with a nice one, caught with a Rapala F5. Photograph by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Trap Pond in Delaware is classic pickerel water for the Delmarva region. Photograph by Jim Gronaw

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WINTER TRIPS AN

A GUIDE TO SHARK

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JAW

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N D D E STI NATI O N S

FISHING THE SURF By David Graham

WS

Image Courtesy of Widescreen Wallpapers Fishing-Headquarters | Page 48


LAND BASED SHARK FISHING

Photograph by David Graham Fishing-Headquarters.com

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By: David Graham

Fishing-Headquarters Contributor

“SHARK!”

F

ewer words elicit more immediate, primal terror in person who hears it uttered. Throughout the vast animal kingdom, the shark most certainly invokes more mystery, fear and legend than any other creature. Arguably the single most feared predator on the planet, sharks are the ultimate carnivores, and have been for more than 400 million years. Their bodies are a weapon designer’s dream. Muscular and sleek, more streamlined than a stealth jet but deadlier than a nuclear submarine, sharks are built for speed and deadly accuracy. With heightened sensory organs capable of detecting drops of blood or distress movements long before their pray ever knew what was coming – along with the most notorious set of teeth in the world - predatory sharks are apex predators that reign supreme in the ocean. Despite undeniable sporting qualities of the more common species, sharks tend to be largely ignored by sport fishermen, and are even regarded as something of a pest by others. Nevertheless, pursuing these fish with rod and reel is

as exhilarating a fishing experience as one can find. Many anglers are either unequipped for, or uninterested in deep sea fishing voyages. However, the convenient, albeit frightening thing about sharks, is their propensity and proclivity to travel into very shallow waters, and in some cases, to freshwater in order to feed. Many of us find the idea of wading into murky beach waters a chilling proposition, almost singularly inspired by Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic film ‘Jaws’. This tale of man- eating great white sharks

pion of marine predators from the comfort and safety of solid ground. Fishing the Surf Land-based shark fishing is a growing trend among both saltwater anglers and those who predominantly target freshwater fish alike. Despite the logical presumption that soaking a chunk of bloody fish inevitably brings bites, there are several tactics to consider when pursuing sharks from the shore. Sharks prefer warm waters, but are ultimately driven to pursue their

Photograph by Patrick Halko

Despite undeniable sporting qualities of the more common species, sharks tend to be largely ignored by sport fishermen. prowling populated stretches of beaches in pursuit of a human meal was transformative for many American vacationers. I would venture that most beach vacationers don’t enter the surf without at least a casual consideration of the possibility of an encounter with one of these toothy predators. For fishermen, though – the shark’s venture in to populated beach areas presents a unique opportunity for to challenge the undisputed heavyweight cham-

food source wherever it is located. Ideal ‘shark fishing’ water temperatures are anywhere between 65 to 75 degrees. During the spring and summer months, the most popular bait species populate the surf along with the predators that feed on them. In Southern Florida water temperatures rarely drop below 65 to 60 degrees, even during the winter months, making it prime sharkFishing-Headquarters | Page 50


LAND BASED SHARK FISHING

fishing territory during all seasons. A 5-day weather assessment is also key in pre-planning a surf fishing trip. Weather-forecast variations notwithstanding, it is wise to constantly check the next day’s forecast until the final hours before departure for an angling trip. Ideal conditions for shark-fishing in the surf include winds between 5 to 10 miles per hour, or 3 to 5 foot seas. Winds beyond 10 to 15 miles per hour create difficult conditions to work with from the surf. Tidal conditions are of key importance when surf-fishing; numerous online sources are available for tracking monthly tide forecasts. Tidal conditions will determine the movement of bait species being followed by sharks. Incoming tides will push bait species closer to the shore. This bodes well for shark anglers stocking up on bait or for those whose fishing equipment is better suited to fishing near the shore. Higher tides also allow larger predators to navigate across sand bars into deeper pools where smallFishing-Headquarters.com

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er forage species congregate. During an outgoing tide, bait species are pushed away from shore and are naturally filtered through ‘washout points’ created by sandbars. Predator species like sharks will move away from the shore at this time to farther sand bars and washout points where the baitfish can be found. A key tool for ‘reading’ surf is Google earth, or satellite images on basic Google maps. Google satellite images are perhaps a surf fisherman’s most convenient tool. These images enable an angler to locate jetties, sand bars, some depth variation, and access points. Understanding wave crests provide advantageous views of the location of sandbars, shelves and drop-offs.

and small dogfish) doesn’t necessarily include a super heavy- duty rod and reel combination. For smaller sharks, large surf casting spinning rod and reel combinations will suffice. I predominantly fish Penn 850SSm spooled with 30-50 lb braid or monofilament line on a 12 foot ugly stick. This set-up is ideal for ‘short range’ surf fishing, but can also handle a medium-sized shark from up to 200 yards out. For larger species such as big lemons, bull sharks, large black tips, etc., the Penn Senator series bait casters are nearly tailored for surf shark action. The Penn Senator can hold over 600 yards of 150lb braid. A 7-foot, 50-lb class rod works well with this rod and line combination. For larger shark rod and reel combiGear and Tackle nations, anglers should strongly conAn angler hoping for any mea- sider wearing a ‘fighting belt’. These surable success in hooking large offer necessary comfort and leversharks from the surf should expect age when working against strong to invest a considerable sum for fish from up to 400 yards out. The appropriate tackle. Basic gear for long, tedious process of ‘playing in’ medium sized sharks (small black a large shark can place tremendous tips, Atlantic sharp nose sharks, strain on an angler’s back and arms

December / January / February, 2012


Many of us find the idea of wading into murky beach waters a chilling proposition, almost singularly inspired by Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic film ‘Jaws’. This tale of man- eating great white sharks prowling populated stretches of beaches in pursuit of a human meal was transformative for many American vacationers. I would venture that most beach vacationers don’t enter the surf without at least a casual consideration of the possibility of an encounter with one.

Photograph by Andrew Ragas

if a fighting belt is not used. The fighting belt is designed such that the butt of the rod is ‘plugged’ in to the angler’s pelvis in a comfortable position, and helps balance the distribution of the anglers leverage and power with greater efficiency. For both bait casting, and spinning rod and reel combinations, ‘rod spikes’ are necessary rod holding devices. These ‘spikes’ are available at most local bait stores in the vicinity of saltwater, but they are essentially nothing more than a 3 to 4 foot piece of PVC pipe sharpened at one end, and are an easy home-made tool. In order for rod spikes to work properly, they should be pushed firmly into the sand in the vertical position to prevent being pulled completely down by larger fish.

rotting, stinking, foul bait - not just for shark fishing but for any type of Bait Selection & Deployment bait fishing. Bait straight from the Despite the popular belief that source is natural, and ideal. Shark sharks will mindlessly devour any- bait can be collected in a variety thing that bleeds or fits into their of ways: cast net, local bait stores, mouths, bait selection is of high pri- freezer-stored bait, or fresh bait ority to serious land-based shark an- from rod and reel. Small whiting, glers. I have always been a staunch ladyfish, pinfish, and other small believer that fresh bait is superior to species of fish can be caught and

harvested on small chunks of calamari, worms, shrimp, or other fish bits on basic medium weight tackle. Anglers should, first and foremost, consider the food chain in the area where they will fish. Sharks always sit at the ‘top’ of the food chain, but different water variables can Fishing-Headquarters | Page 52


LAND BASED SHARK FISHING Land-based shark fishing is a growing trend among both saltwater anglers and those who predominantly target freshwater fish alike. Despite the logical presumption that soaking a chunk of bloody fish inevitably brings bites, there are several tactics to consider when pursuing sharks from the shore. Wesley Allsbrook landed his first Lemon Shark, and what is currently the largest fish of his lifetime. It’s estimated weight was between 80 and 90 pounds and almost 6 feet long. After a good photo session with the fish, the great catch was released and he hurried back up the beach to set up for another.

tremendously affect bait selection. For example, anglers fishing near jetties or rocky outcroppings should focus on using rock- dwelling fish as bait. Sheepshead is outstanding shark bait near rocks, and can be caught on clams, fiddler crabs, or other crustaceans. Anglers should consider state gamefish laws before using certain species for bait, but fish such as whiting, striped mullet, stingray, and ladyfish are good choices throughout all seasons. Properly preserved reserve bait can be the difference between catching and not catching fish. Anglers should be aware that sharks will detect stationary bait by smell before all other modes of detection. Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Bait fish scents and natural oils can be lost if stored in a cooler of chlorinated ice water. Keeping each individual baitfish in sealed packages or zip lock bags under ice will keep bait fresh, and preserve the fish’s natural scent; this is key for attracting the shark’s keen sense of smell. Bait deployment is another key factor in successful surf-fishing for shark. Observing and understanding wave crests is important for anglers in order to determine where sandbars begin and end. Anglers using long spinning rod-and-reel combinations will not always be able to launch baits beyond the last sandbar where the slope of the bottom resembles a staircase. Anglers casting

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into the surf should focus on areas with minimal wave action which indicates deeper water. Areas where relatively calm water is readily adjacent to a visible area of cresting waves are important as well. This indicates a point where a sandbar ends and tidal ‘pools’ feed into deeper waters. Predatory species will stage here for the natural filtration of bait species into and out of this funnel point during tidal movement. More serious land-based shark anglers practice bait deployment by kayak. This is predominantly accomplished with larger bait-casting combinations which allows bait placement with the greatest range, up to 400+ yards from shore. A 6�


Photograph by David Graham

to-10 foot sit on top kayak is great for paddling out without worrying about being flooded by the larger cresting waves. Anglers using this method of bait deployment should consider the lateral motion of tidal current. Placing baits into the current may be necessary to compensate for natural bait drag until the lead weight catches firmly into the bottom. With this method, the rod should be left in the rod spike with drag loosened enough that the bait can be towed out into the deeper waters without creating a great deal of resistance while paddling. The paddle out can be exhausting, but coming in is fun! Anglers considering this method of deployment should be confident in their kayaking skills, seas over 3 to 5 feet can be

very intimidating and dangerous. With multiple rod set-ups, anglers should separate rod spikes at a minimum of 20 yards between each rod. Sharks will make strong lateral runs parallel to the shore, making conflict with lines still in the water a real hazard. When using multiple rods placed with considerable spacing, it is wise to set a bait clicker and free spool, or loosen the drag enough to avoid the likelihood of rods being jerked free of your rod holders before you can reach them.

rig. Anglers should first consider the susceptibility to cut, broken, or damaged lines when fighting in a shark. 120-300 pound steel cable leaders are imperative for medium to large shark species. Flexible, nylon coated steel leader wire is ideal for a good stealth to strength capacity. Anglers should consider that a sharkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s teeth are designed for cutting, so they can and will bite through weaker lines or leaders. The length of the leader should be approximately the same length as the average size of the targeted species or more. If a Shark Rigs shark turns in such a way that its own body length is longer than the Without delving too deeply into leader, contact between the highly numerous and complicated rigging abrasive flesh of the sharks thrashschemes, anglers can enjoy a high Fishing-Headquarters | Page 54 hook up ratio with a basic Carolina


LAND BASED SHARK FISHING

CAROLINA RIG

ing tail can wear down the lead line enough to cause breaks. Leader sleeves and barrel swivels should reflect the weight capacity of the wire leader for which they are utilized. Circle hooks are ideal for sharks, since catch-and-release angler’s intent on retrieve their hooks should not attempt to delve too deeply into a shark’s throat for obvious reasons. Circle hooks will always conveniently wind up in the corner of the shark’s mouth. I personally attach my circle hooks straight to the leader as opposed to a snap swivel to avoid swivels being forced open by sheer force. For anglers paddling baits far offshore, Fishing-Headquarters.com

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stout braided line may be a better choice than heavy monofilament line. Monofilament line will naturally stretch, and from up to 400 yards, this may hinder the circle hook’s ability to properly engage the fish when pressure is applied at the spool. Pyramid or spider weights should be attached indirectly to the lead line with the use of sinker sliders. Weights should reflect the strength of the tidal surge the angler chooses to fish. Particularly strong current may require up to a pound of led to keep a bait stationary. The Fight

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Anglers should understand that tidal movement and current can be valuable tools during the fight, but can also work against an angler if not properly played. Anglers should keep in mind that pressure should most often be applied in the opposite direction that the shark is running. Sharks will generally make lateral runs in a ‘zig zag’ manner parallel to the shore. Black tip sharks will often rocket out of the water and make a series of spectacular leaps upon the initial hook-up, anglers should be cautious of applying too much pressure initially. A shark’s initial run is like no other, and angler should endure the initial burst �


before applying a great deal of pressure on the fish. Once the shark begins to enter the cresting waves, or cross the sand bars, anglers should begin to use the momentum of the natural tidal push. Most pressure should be applied to the shark in its runs when surges of tide are already pushing the fish towards the bank. Once the fish is within range to be subdued, it is important that all necessary gear specific to landing and releasing a shark be in close, adjacent proximity. Landing gear may include a set of gloves, rope, long pliers, wire cutters, and bolt cutters. There are three ‘most effective’ ways to land a shark. ‘Leadering’, if the leader is long enough, allows a a gloved-partner to drag the fish in by the leader. ‘Tail roping’ is essentially a ‘noose’, placed around the shark’s caudal fin, then pulling the fish in by the base of its tail from a safe distance; or by hand at the base of the tail. It is particularly dangerous to land a shark by its tail using only your hands! Even a very large shark can turn on its own body length to bite, and the powerful stroke of a shark’s abrasive tail can inflict lacerations. Long pliers can work a circle hook out of a smaller shark’s toothy jaws, but even a small shark’s biting power should be duly respected. Many shark anglers bring a set of bolt cutters to simply snip the hook in half, extricate it from the shark’s mouth, and re-attach another hook later. Sharks will quickly fatigue out of the water, therefore anglers should work as quickly and safely as possible to return the fish if they intend to release it. The shark’s reputation has been overwhelmingly affected by being represented in word and cinema as a malevolent, mysterious monster. It is not an overstatement that sharks

Photograph by Patrick Halko

may be the most reviled, persecuted creatures on the planet. There is a sense of reverence and awe, though, at catching and touching a large shark. Perhaps this is due to the chilling realization that this creature can, and has, killed and eaten human beings, although certainly not with malevolent intent. Sharks come in unimaginable shapes and sizes and,

shapes and sizes and, quite frankly, can be caught right out of our favorite swimming spots. The shark is a fascinating prospect for anglers who seek the thrill and excitement of catching a truly formidable and unique large fish. Fishing-Headquarters | Page 56


LAND BASED SHARK FISHING Sharks prefer warm waters, but are ultimately driven to pursue their food source wherever it is located. Ideal ‘shark fishing’ water temperatures are anywhere between 65 to 75 degrees. During the spring and summer months, the most popular bait species populate the surf along with the predators that feed on them. In Southern Florida water temperatures rarely drop below 65 to 60 degrees, even during the winter months, making it prime shark-fishing territory during all seasons. A 5-day weather assessment is also key in pre-planning a surf fishing trip. Weather-forecast variations notwithstanding, it is wise to constantly check the next day’s forecast until the final hours before departure for an angling trip. Ideal conditions for shark-fishing in the surf include winds between 5 to 10 miles per hour, or 3 to 5 foot seas. Winds beyond 10 to 15 miles per hour create difficult conditions to work with from the surf.

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Photograph by Patrick Halko Fishing-Headquarters | Page 58


Photograph by Patrick Halko

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ďż˝


Photograph by Patrick Halko

Photograph by Patrick Halko Fishing-Headquarters | Page 60


LAND BASED SHARK FISHING

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On August 25 I had the pleasure of visiting St. George Island, Florida. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate my brother’s marriage, but it was also a good opportunity to enjoy some great surf fishing along the Gulf coast. I arrived with only a brief period of time to fish due to planned wedding festivities later in the afternoon. I brought one large baitcaster, and one surf casting rod. The beach was perfect, with an almost lake-like glassy surface. No sooner than I had paddled out my first large chunk of bluefish and casted out the other, BOTH rods went down simultaneously. This presented a hell of a problem due to me being alone… but luckily, if you want to consider it luck, one rig failed me and the line was cut, and the circle hook on my other rod failed to engage the fish. As soon as I began to get rig making gear together to re-tie the surf casting rod I heard the bait clicker on my baitcaster screaming and looked back to see the short stout rod going parallel. I knew what I had at that moment was not a Lemon Shark, but I had finally tied into my first bull shark! Bringing in sharks generally requires a bit of a wrestling match, and a set of cajones! After a few good whaps of the tail against my legs, I finally brought the fish up on the sand. The bull shark was about 6 feet in length and somewhere in the area of 130 pounds I would guess. I stayed only for about 30 more minutes after re-baiting and missed three more fish before leaving. There is no telling how many more fish, and how many LARGER fish I could have tied into had we spent more time at this particular location. I suppose one year I will make another trip here.

Photograph by David Graham Fishing-Headquarters | Page 62


LAND BASED SHARK FISHING

Boundless Pursuit A non-species specific approach to angling by David Graham.

David Graham, an extreme multi-species angler and featured columnist for Fishing-Headquarters Magazine, joins the FHQ.com Writers Network with his very own blog.

http://www.fishing-headquarters.com/boundlesspursuit/

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Photograph by Wesley Allsbrook Fishing-Headquarters | Page 64


Photograph by Jacob Saylor Fishing-Headquarters.com

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September/ December / January October//November, February, 2012 2011

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GLIDE TIME

MUSKIES

Gliders arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t only stereotypical late season cold water lures. They consistently catch muskies year-round. BY ANDREW RAGAS Fishing-Headquarters Fishing-Headquarters | | Page Page68 64


GLIDE TIME MUSKIES

By: Andrew Ragas Editor In-Chief

andrew@fishing-headquarters.com

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t was a cold and snowy February, 2011 morning. Not thrilled about going outside to shovel the snow, I woke up with the intentions of turning on the television. It seems that whenever I get the chance to watch any Saturday morning television, I turn on Comcast Sports or the Outdoor Channel. On this particular Saturday morning, I was excited to watch Jim Saric catch muskies on his television program, “The Musky Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Hunter.” The subject of this particular show was fishing with gliders for early summer muskies. This was an interesting topic to say the least, and one that was such a coincidence and could not have come at a better time for me. This episode captivated me because in the last few years, an increasing number of friends have been telling me that gliders aren’t just a late season lure for muskies. Rather, they catch fish during all times of the year. Unable to experience or witness this phenomenon for myself, at least I was going to see one of the most renowned musky anglers in the world put on a show on the television in front of me. Mr. Saric indeed put on a show. I recall him and his partner boating a dozen muskies with Softail Phantoms on the Indiana lake they were fishing in early June. For the longest time, I was skeptical about fishing with gliders. My perception of them was once

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old-school traditional, thinking that they only catch muskies during the cold water period when fish are actively feeding, but require slower presentations in order to catch. After watching that one episode of “The Musky Hunter,” my perception of gliders immediately changed. Introduction to Gliders Gliders are characterized as “pull baits”. Their weight-forward design enables rocket-like casting, and while retrieved they feature a submerging side-to-side, walk-thedog motion. They are lipless internally-weighted baits, made from either wood or hard plastic, that require slow to medium retrieve speeds accompanied by several jerks and pauses in between. There is no wrong way to fish gliders as the action produced by the bait is generated entirely by the angler himself. This can be said for all baits and lures, but with gliders, the �


Gliders are characterized as “pull baits”. Their weight-forward design enables rocket-like casting, and while retrieved they feature a submerging side-to-side, walk-the-dog motion. They are lipless internally-weighted baits, made from either wood or hard plastic, that require slow to medium retrieve speeds accompanied by several jerks and pauses in between. Photograph by Frank Weilnhammer

angler is in full control of the lure’s action and presentation. The action of the bait, matched accordingly to the moods and response of fish, will ultimately determine whether fish will be caught. Lures for All Seasons Gliders are weapons of choice for catching fish on a year-round basis. For instance, they perform as excellent search lures when fish are roaming the shallow flats and weedbeds. In these warmer water situations of late spring through midsummer, and sometimes deep into summer, gliders can be fished fairly quickly for the purposes of covering water and searching for active fish. Besides being superb in shallower water, gliders are also effective with

Rapala Glidin’ Rap

slower retrieval speeds and longer pause while fishing deeper water. Throughout the cold water period, gliders extract feeding fish along deep breaklines and open water. For the first time in my brief musky angling career, gliders were a mainstay in my boat from late spring through middle of fall. I was so committed to the glider in 2011 that I had one rod rigged at all times with one. Not only were gliders diligently used on a daily basis, but during my lessons of self-educating, it was doing its fair share of catch-

ing as well. My musky season typically begins during the Wisconsin opener in late May and runs until mid to late October. I wish it could go for longer until first ice but such is life. These five months of fishing encompass a plethora of seasonal changes and conditions. If I continue this discussion about what muskies are doing during each seasonal period in response to gliders, then I may as well write a book on it. However, Fishing-Headquarters | Page 70


GLIDE TIME MUSKIES to make a long story short, what’s needed to be known about gliders is they can be fished in all scenarios, and they catch fish year-round.

Softail Phantom: Of all gliders I use, softails are my absolute favorites. They can be fished fast or slow in all conditions and any situations. They feature an enticing plastic tail Gliders: How and When whose action is irresistible to fish. The Phantom is considered to be The most important thing I one of the easiest gliders to use for want to generate from a glider is that both experienced and beginner anwhen I retrieve it with pulls, jerks glers alike. Its easy and wide side to and pauses, I want it to glide from side action accompanied by its roll side-to-side with wild action. If I at the end of each glide produces cannot generate the desired action or an incredible action and belly flash. necessary response from fish when According to experts, the belly flash needed, then it is put away in favor is a proven triggering mechanism of a different one. There is no sense on getting muskies to strike. This is in using something that doesn’t trig- an excellent crossover lure between ger a response from fish. hard baits and soft baits and I would All gliders are not created be lost on the water without one. I equally as they are available in dif- exclusively use the 6” 2 ¾ oz. modferent shapes, sizes, designs, and el and have one rigged on a rod at weights. The density of the glid- least 75% of the time. In my opiner and its relationship to how it is ion, softails simply raise fish and crafted usually determines its over- catch them when nothing else can! all performance, sinking ratio, and action in the water. However, an- Slammer Drop Belly: This shad glers often have to make difficult style bait is one of my all time fachoices on which styles or brands to vorites, and it is used on a year use and in which situations to use round basis in almost all situations. them. In my opinion, experimenta- The only thing missing from it is a tion with different baits until a level soft plastic tail, but due to its wickof comfort is formed, and the re- ed action it can get away without trieve is mastered, is the best way to one. This is quite possibly one of determine whether or not a particu- the easiest gliders to use as minimal lar lure should be fished. involvement is required in order to There are several different make it work properly. This is one glider styles in production, and each of the best options for anyone who has its time and place. Some of my is new to fishing with gliders. In favorites and most-used gliders are fact, this was the first glider I ever produced by Phantom Lures, Slam- purchased and used. The drop belly mer Tackle, Drifter Tackle, Smity, is weighted for neutral buoyancy and Rapala. and hangs longer in the strike zone Below is a quick summary of than any glider I have ever used. each glider I use, and the situations This bait is masterfully created from I find them to be the most effective: a solid plastic body and featuresFishing-Headquarters.com

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December / January / February, 2012

beautiful paint patterns with a super tough clear coat protection. Drifter Hellhound: The Hellhound is one of the best constructed and durable plastic baits I have ever fished with. At 8” and 3.8 oz., it is easy to use and versatile as it can be fished slow or erratic. I prefer using the Hellhound during the fall months when fish are likely to be caught in deeper water situations, and when fast erratic action is not required. Smity Power Glide: Smity’s Powerglide is a relic of a lure, and a pioneer in musky fishing. At 7” and 3.1 oz., it features a great sweeping side-to-side action in a countdown glider. The bait sinks at a rate of about a half a foot per second. A short downward tap with the rod will usually get this hardwood lure dancing in front of fish. Rapala Glidin’ Rap: The Glidin’ Rap is a wide profiled wooden bait that glides side to side just below the surface and stays within the strike zone. This bait features an indestructible finish with lazer sharp hooks, and is best fished with rod tip faced down and twitching it in a walk-the-dog method. I exclusively fish with its 1.8 oz. 5 ½” model during post-frontal conditions, high skies, and when downsizing is needed. Worked with a heavy flipping stick that is better equipped for big bass or pike fishing, I can really make this lure dance a lot in the water with lighter tackle. It seems to wake fish up when nothing else can.


Softail Phantom

Smity Power Glide

Slammer Drop Belly

Drifter Tackle Hellhound

Rapala Glidinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Rap

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GLIDE TIME MUSKIES The most important thing I want to generate from a glider is that when I retrieve it with pulls, jerks and pauses, I want it to glide from side-to-side with wild action. If I cannot generate the desired action or necessary response from fish when needed, then it is put away in favor of a different one. There is no sense in using something that doesn’t trigger a response from fish.

Photograph by Jacob Saylor Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Getting Equipped Gliders are a large part of today’s musky world and it is important to be equipped with the proper rods and reels. Nowadays, rods and reels have turned into techniquespecific tools that enhance the musky fishing experience. Several modern-day rod manufacturers have delivered on the demand of technique-specific rods. Rods are now available in longer and more durable blanks that are comfortable to use and more efficient at properly presenting baits and catching fish. For all purpose jerkbait and glider fishing, it is recommended to use rod lengths of 6 ½ feet to 7 ½ feet long. Since I am a bigger and stronger guy with all the stamina in the world to fish, I prefer fishing with longer rods. I use a 7 ½ footer medium extra heavy fast action rod for all of my glider fishing. It possesses minimal bend with a lot of power. The rod in particular is an extremely affordable and durable Shimano Compre equipped with a Shimano Curado 300DSV low profile reel that allows me to fish comfortably without any fatigue. This set-up has a number of additional benefits besides its comfort and profile. First and foremost, the rod enables accurate casting which is important to fishing with gliders. Secondly, the rod’s length gives me a greater reach with figure-8’s. Lastly, its heavier fast action allows me to fish with whatever glider sizes and styles I desire, and no matter what design I am using, it seems to aid in making all baits be presented properly. Coupled with my retrieve techniques, a comfortable rod that imparts action on the bait is critical to success. Besides choosing the proper

Photograph by Jacob Saylor

For the first time in my brief musky angling career, gliders were a mainstay in my boat from late spring through middle of fall. rod, getting equipped with the right reel and line is also important. Due to the erratic pulling and jerking retrieves needed for glider fishing, using a reel with a faster gear ratio is the best. I am not partial to any reel manufacturers, so the best advice I can offer is that anything that falls into your budget, is comfortable, and enables you to keep up with the slack line is the best option. As for line selection, at least 65lb. braided superline is recommended and I strictly use 80lb. Cortland Masterbraid as it is the most durable and smoothest-casting line I have ever used. Leaders are another important component to also consider. For glider fishing, should I use single strand wire? How about invisible fluorocarbon, or what about actionpacked, flexible and memory-free titanium leaders? What you elect to use greatly dictates the type of lure action that will be generated. For general-purpose glider fishing, a single strand wire leader is recommended as it is the strongest and most durable. However, if erratic action is desired,

I have been able to get away by using fluorocarbon and titaniums. The latter seems to bring out the best in each bait for me. It was a mere five years ago when I turned serious and committed myself to catching muskies. Amongst every lesson I’ve learned through trial and error, and the information and knowledge that I’ve gained from educators and experts, I’ve found that having a willingness to try new techniques and to be persistent with them is one of the biggest successes in putting fish in the net. Moral of the story is that unconventional thought and a willingness to try new techniques and applying them during all seasons will ultimately catch more fish. In the case of using glide baits for year-round purposes, I finally understood what my friends were telling me, and what Mr. Saric was trying to prove on television. Gliders really do work during all seasons! Fishing-Headquarters | Page 74


GLIDE TIME MUSKIES Gliders are weapons of choice for catching fish on a year-round basis. For instance, they perform as excellent search lures when fish are roaming the shallow flats and weedbeds. In these warmer water situations of late spring through mid-summer, and sometimes deep into summer, gliders can be fished fairly quickly for the purposes of covering water and searching for active fish. Besides being superb in shallower water, gliders are also effective with slower retrieval speeds and longer pause while fishing deeper water. Throughout the cold water period, gliders extract feeding fish along deep breaklines and open water.

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Photograph by Jacob Saylor Fishing-Headquarters | Page 76


GLIDE TIME MUSKIES There is no wrong way to fish gliders as the action produced by the bait is generated entirely by the angler himself. This can be said for all baits and lures, but with gliders, the angler is in full control of the lure’s action and presentation. The action of the bait, matched accordingly to the moods and response of fish, will ultimately determine whether fish will be caught.

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Photograph by Jacob Saylor Fishing-Headquarters | Page 78


Photograph by Kenny Lookingbill Fishing-Headquarters.com

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Photograph by Nate Tessler

The Asian Carp Epidemic and its Potential Impact on the Great Lakes Fishery Bryan Blazek

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Photograph by Nate Tessler Fishing-Headquarters | Page 82


ASIAN CARP IMPACT

Asian Carp have made their way up the Mississippi River Basin, and are now on the verge of entering the Great Lakes in mass quantities. The Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal, considered one of the greatest engineering feats of modern history, linking the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to the Great Lakes, and this connection provides a route for this invasive species to enter the massive expanse of Lake Michigan. Fishing-Headquarters.com

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December / January / February, 2012

Photograph by Kenny Lookingbill


the Great Lakes, they would wreak vania, and New York, as well as the havoc on the delicate balance of the Canadian province of Ontario. The aquatic ecosystem. Asian Carp feed Great lakes holds about 18% of the primarily on phytoplankton and worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water supply, with a surzooplankton, microscopic aquatic face area of approximately 244,000 invertabrates that provide base for- square kilometers. The fishing inage for many other life forms in the dustry has played a major role in the system. A loss of forage could cause economy of the Great Lakes basin, massive mortality for sport fish and with the first humans probably fishcommercially fished species, and in ing it nearly ten thousand years ago. By: Bryan Blazek turn, cost the region billions of dol- Early European settlers arrived Fishing-Headquarters Contributor lars in lost revenues from fishing sometime in the 16th century, and and tourist related industries. Many ever since, the Great Lakes basin solutions have been proposed, how- has been undergoing constant enever, the only 100% effective solu- vironmental and ecological change tion is a complete ecological and that has impacted the biodiversity he Great Lakes are the biological separation of the two wa- and general health of the lakes in its system. Recent estimates put the largest reservoir of fresh surface terways. value of the Great Lakes fishery at water on earth, containing nearly somewhere between five and seven 18% of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water supply The Asian Carp Epidemic billion dollars, a figure that repre(McCrimmon 2002). The Great The Great Lakes watershed is sents not only profits from commerlakes supports a thriving sport fishing as well as commercial fishing a large expanse in the interior of cial fishing operations, but also the industry affecting the eight U.S. North America containing the larg- revenue generated by sport fishing states that have shoreline, as well est reservoir of fresh water in the , and the industries that surround as the Canadian province of On- entire world. The great lakes region the sport. Where once there were tario. Millions of dollars are spent is comprised of eight states, includ- abundant native lake trout, burbot, each year to maintain the fishery ing Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Atlantic salmon, and smelt; many through stocking efforts of salmon, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsyl- sport anglers now target exotic patrout, and walleye; all of which are highly sought after by sport fishermen. The fishing industry brings in billions of dollars to the economies of the Great Lakes region, and has become a way of life for many of the regions residents. Asian Carp have made their way up the Mississippi River Basin, and are now on the verge of entering the Great Lakes in mass quantities. The Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal, considered one of the greatest engineering feats of modern history, linking the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to the Great Lakes, and this connection provides a route for this invasive species to enter the massive expanse of Lake Michigan. Asian bighead carp population dispersal map. Areas in red indicate infested Many biologists fear that if the inwaterways and/or known sightings. Image courtesy of USGS. ďż˝ vasive carp species were to infiltrate

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ASIAN CARP IMPACT

Many biologists fear that if the invasive carp species were to infiltrate the Great Lakes, they would wreak havoc on the delicate balance of the aquatic ecosystem. Asian Carp feed primarily on phytoplankton and zooplankton, microscopic aquatic invertabrates that provide base forage for many other life forms in the system. A loss of forage could cause massive mortality for sport fish and commercially fished species, and in turn, cost the region billions of dollars in lost revenues from fishing and tourist related industries. Many solutions have been proposed, however, the only 100% effective solution is a complete ecological and biological separation of the two waterways. cific salmon that have been carefully raised in hatcheries and stocked in the lakes for the very purpose of providing anglers with a sport fishing opportunity. Although there are millions of gallons of water in the Great Lakes, the specific biodiversity of the region is in a delicate balance that can easily be disrupted by the addition of a new, non-native species. One only needs to look back a few decades to see the huge impact that invasive species have had on the Great Lakes. Non-native species such as the zebra and quagga mussels have already begun to rob the lake of microscopic sized creatures at the bottom of the food chain such as phytoplankton and algae. Many small species of fish and invertebrates depend on the availability of these food sources, so as the levels of invasive mussels grew into the 1980’s and into current times, the water clarity has consistently increased as microscopic invertebrates are being sucked out of the water. As if the current problems weren’t enough, Fishing-Headquarters.com

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there is now the threat of invasive Asian carp species to enter the lake system, an event that many scientists fear will decimate the sport fishery in its entirety. One only needs to look at the destruction that these invasive species have caused on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers to appreciate the severity of the problem at hand. With direct access to Lake Michigan via the Chicago Sanitary Canal, there is a direct path for these carp to travel to get into the lakes, and many experts, legislators, fishermen, and other concerned parties have recently sought to close all potential access that these fish might have to the Great Lakes. Although this idea seems simple in its theory, many people argue that closing the access to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers will cut off the flow of cargo ships through the lock system, and in turn, cost the surrounding states millions, if not billions, in lost revenue. Whatever the outcome of this situation, one thing is sure; invasive Asian carp have the potential to cause great harm to the multi-billion

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dollar fishing industry that resides in the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes Fishery Over three hundred years ago, early European settlers first arrived to the Great Lakes region to find a much different scene than we recognize today. Indigenous people have relied on fishing the Great Lakes as a source of sustenance for many thousands of years, and it was only natural for early settlers to also turn to the lakes as a source of much needed proteins. European settlement quickly resulted in the exploitation of the available resources. Much of the area surrounding the lakes has been converted into commercial agriculture operations, peat mines, as well as urban sprawl. Many species that once thrived in the lakes can now no longer be found at all; as is the case with the blue pike, Atlantic salmon, and multiple species of ciscoes, a deepwater pelagic species of fish that is the primary food source for many top predators. “Through-


Photograph by Kenny Lookingbill

out the Great Lakes, fish biomasses were dominated by large individuals of large species including sturgeon, lake trout, lake whitefish, northern pike, muskellunge, walleye, channel catfish (and Atlantic salmon in Lake Ontario). The seals and the Atlantic salmon disappeared in the 19th Century, and the eels and native trout are now the focus of official efforts to counter long-term declines. Several unique species or subspecies of fish have been lost, including a subspecies of walleye endemic to Lake Erie, the Michigan grayling and a number of cisco species. The dominant top predators in the system are now non-native salmon species introduced from the west coast of North America and sustained by massive stocking programmers run by government and private hatcheries.” (Messenheimer 2011) The current status of the Great Lakes is considered one of regrowth and repair. Much has been done in the past to restore the lakes; however, it is by no means a stable environment. Many of the species now swimming and living in the

Great Lake have been the result of restoration efforts of scientists and fishermen. “The current fish fauna of the Great Lakes’ basin includes 179 species representing 29 families in 18 orders and two classes of fish. Twenty-five non-indigenous fish species have established populations in the Great Lakes’ ecosystem. Sustainable management of Great Lakes’ fisheries depends on social, economic and ecological factors. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually to protect and preserve Great Lakes’ fisheries and their associated ecosystems.” (McCrimmon 2002) “The structure of the Great Lakes’ offshore-fish community has been modified by extinction and depletion of native species, and the introduction of non-indigenous fishes. Smelt and alewife have replaced planktivorous lake herring and deepwater ciscoes. Diversity and abundance of deepwater ciscoes have been dramatically reduced, with bloaters apparently moving into shallower waters. Introduced salmonines have produced a fish community dominated by pelagic piscivores, where benthic pi-

scivores were historically dominant (Stewart & Ibarra1991; Eshenroder & Burnham-Curtis 1999). The addition of the salmonid species, through stocking efforts by state governments, has provided the backbone for an industry that supports the economy of shore-side cities. Commercial fishing operations employ a large number of workers in both harvesting, as well as fish processing; however more relevant are the many sport fishermen and women that drive a huge service based economy that surrounds the Great Lakes. From the private charter boats that run out of every major harbor, and the local bait and tackle stores, to the hotel and entertainment industries catering to travelling sport fishermen and women; there are billions of dollars generated from the fishing industry on the Great Lakes. Salmon were initially stocked largely in response to an overwhelming Alewife population that exploded in the middle of the nineteenth century. The alewife minFishing-Headquarters | Page 86


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Photograph by Kenny Lookingbill

Silver carp and bighead carp grow to about 70 and 110 pounds, respectively, in their native waters in Southeast Asia, but in North America the maximum sizes seem to be 20 pounds for silvers and 50 for bigheads. now is another invasive species that made its way into the Great Lakes though the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The need for a route for oceangoing vessels to reach the Great Lakes superseded any concern over invasive species when the passages were first opened. The imposing current flow over Niagara Falls once blocked these invaders from reaching the lakes, until the Welland Canal was built in 1825. This began a slow and steady progression of invasive species such as the alewife and sea lamprey that caused severe destruction to the overall health of the Great Lakes, as well as cost taxpayers millions, if not billions of dollars to control in the years since. “Lampreys are eel-like, jawless relics from the earliest days of fishes. Fishing-Headquarters.com

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With the hooked teeth of their sucker like mouths they clamp onto the sides of other fishes, drill holes with file-like tongues and suck host body fluids. Aided by overfishing and pollution, lampreys by the 1940s had driven lake trout to the brink of extinction. Alewives are small, silvery prey fish from the Atlantic that can live in fresh water. With the decimation of the top predators that might have fed on them in the Great Lakes, alewife populations exploded, until they accounted for up to 80 percent of the lakes’ fish biomass” (Sharp 2007). One cannot fully examine the history of the Great Lakes, without mentioning what some considered to be one of the most monumental tasks ever achieved my mankind, the

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reversal of the Chicago River. What is now known as the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal was once a small tributary of the Great Lakes that Chicago happened to dump its waste water into. Concerned with polluting the drinking water supply, the Army Corps of Engineers undertook the huge task of re-routing the rivers, and connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, via the Cal Sag channel and the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. “Those shipping lanes remain active to this day; sizable volumes of bulk goods like road salt, sand, and scrap metals make their way throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System. Simply put, in 1900, reversal had two basic goals: to provide clean drinking water for Chi-


cago by moving wastewater away from Lake Michigan; and to establish Chicago as a hub of inter-basin freight movement” (Booth 2011). This is the area that is worried to be the primary vector for the introduction of Asian carp species into the Great Lakes. Many scientists worry that such an event could be ultimately catastrophic to the multibillion dollar industry that has taken so many years to establish.

The silver and bighead carp were originally introduced into aquaculture ponds in Arkansas as early as the 1960’s as a way to keep ponds clean, as well as a fish to be sold at markets. The fish eventually escaped in massive floods that affected the region in the 1980’s, and began eating their way upstream.

Asian Carp Biology The species that are of concern when it comes to the Great Lakes is the bighead carp, (Hypopthalmichthys nobilis) and the silver carp, ( H. molitrix) Bighead and silver carp are fast growing, high volume filter feeders with a generalist diet of both photoplankton and zooplankton. “Both fishes have modified gill structures that enable them to strain massive quantities of phytoplankton (algae) and zooplankton (small organisms) from the water,” says Nate Tessler, University of Toledo, Dept. of Environmental Sciences. These fish are currently wreaking havoc on the aquatic ecosystem of the Mississippi river and the Illinois River. Although there are some incidental fish that have been released as part of cultural ceremonial practices, as well as some that are released from aquariums; the fish that have established a community in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers originate from aquaculture operations in the southern United States. The silver and bighead carp were originally introduced into aquaculture ponds in Arkansas as early as the 1960’s as a way to keep ponds clean, as well as a fish to be sold at markets. The fish eventually escaped in massive floods that affected the region in the 1980’s, and began eating their

Photograph by Nate Tessler Fishing-Headquarters | Page 88


ASIAN CARP IMPACT way upstream. “Silver carp and bighead carp grow to about 70 and 110 pounds, respectively, in their native waters in Southeast Asia, but in North America the maximum sizes seem to be 20 pounds for silvers and 50 for bigheads. Silver carp attract the most attention, because they leap 10 to 15 feet out of the water when spooked by boats, sometimes blasting through the surface in shoals” (Sharp 2007). Many boaters have suffered injuries from the jumping carp, and boating on the affected waters has changed dramatically with the addition of chain fence around the cockpit of boats to protect boaters from the flying menaces, as well as other precautions being taken. Also notable is the advent of bow fishing for these species of fish, which offers fishermen and hunters alike a unique opportunity to rid the water of these fish and enjoy a sporting day on the water at the same time. The fish that are wreaking havoc on America’s inland waterways are attracting national attention, and there is no shortage of media coverage of the topic. President Barack Obama even went as far as to make invasive species part of his election platform, and to appoint a ‘Carp Czar’ to oversee the management of the waterways that have been effected. One of the main problems being faced is the fact that these huge fish have no natural predators in this water system, and are being allowed to grow to outrageous numbers. The massive schools of fish are destroying the natural habitat of the river, and driving out native species through competition for resources. Fishing-Headquarters.com

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“Besides humans, the fish has few U.S. predators. Pelicans and eagles indulge in the younger fish, but no North American freshwater fish is big enough to eat mature Asian carp” (Bergen 2011). Where Asian carp once represented just a small portion of the fish on the Mississippi River in the 1990’s, the number has grown to astronomical proportions since. It is noted that some sections of the Illinois River, carp make up nine out of every ten pounds of living material, plant or animal (Nelson 2010). The intense feeding of the carp can make affected water extremely clear. Although some may see this as desirable, it allows sunlight to penetrate much deeper and can lead to the growth of large algae blooms that can harbor the toxin e.coli (Nelson 2010). “Asian carp are also implicated in increasing levels of toxic blue green algae called Microcystis, which contains a poison that can cause liver damage. The algae are not digested by the carp, and come out the other end in stimulated form” (Nelson 26).

to the Great Lakes. Since their escape from aquaculture ponds in the 1980’s, they have been moving north up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and have also begun to move up the Missouri River and into South Dakota, as well as the Rock and Kishwaukee River drainages in Northern Illinois. “Asian carp quickly take over an ecosystem by eating all the plankton and plant life, driving out indigenous species, and reproducing at high rates.” (Nelson 2010) “They feed by sucking up more than half their own weight in algae and zooplankton every day. Fisheries scientists fear they could completely disrupt the food web in the Great Lakes. Everywhere they have turned up; Asian carp have stifled native species, including bass, crappies, bluegills, buffalo fish and catfish, to become overwhelmingly dominant. About 80 percent of the commercial fishermen on the Illinois River quit after carp eliminated most of the buffalo fish and catfish that were the fishermen’s bread and butter.” (Sharp 2007) Where there were once only 5.5 tons of Asian Potential Threat carp in a specific area of the Illinois River, there are now 55 tons or The main issue at hand is more (Chick and Pegg 2001). Comwhether or not the Asian carp have mercial fishermen today on the Illientered the lakes, and how to prevent nois and Mississippi River regularly any further individuals from enter- catch up to 25,000 pounds of silver ing Great Lakes waters. It is a fact and bighead carp per day (Irons et that four adult bighead carp, weigh- al. 2007) An interview with Kening almost fifty pounds apiece, have ny Lookingbill, Aquatic Ecologist been caught over 900 miles away Technician at Illinois Natural Hisin Lake Erie. (Sharp 2007) While tory Survey and Fishing-HeadquarScientists are still puzzled as to ters Magazine contributor, revealed how the fish got there, one thing is that while working on the current for certain; there is increased pres- Asian Carp Removal Project, he sure to seal off all potential access learned that there is rumors of the

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Both Asian and bighead carp have modified gill structures that enable them to strain massive quantities of phytoplankton (algae) and zooplankton (small organisms) from the water. These fish are currently wreaking havoc on the aquatic ecosystem of the Mississippi river and the Illinois River. Although there are some incidental fish that have been released as part of cultural ceremonial practices, as well as some that are released from aquariums; the fish that have established a community in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers originate from aquaculture operations in the southern United States.

Photograph by Nate Tessler Fishing-Headquarters | Page 90


ASIAN CARP IMPACT

The main issue at hand is whether or not the Asian carp have entered the lakes, and how to prevent any further individuals from entering Great Lakes waters. It is a fact that four adult bighead carp, weighing almost fifty pounds apiece, have been caught over 900 miles away in Lake Erie. While Scientists are still puzzled as to how the fish got there, one thing is for certain; there is increased pressure to seal off all potential access to the Great Lakes. invasive species being caught in the lower reaches of the Wisconsin River, which could be evidence of a much larger problem than what we now understand. Another significant threat is the extinction of native species through competition for food sources. The voracious appetite that these fish exhibit for microscopic planktons and invertebrates makes it impossible for other species to fulfill their nutritional requirements; thus altering the structure of the food chain. “Although studies of the ecological impact are incomplete, many scientists believe that these two fish species have a detrimental effect on the health of native fish and mussel populations. Where present, these fish are very abundant and consume massive quantities of both phytoFishing-Headquarters.com

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plankton and zooplankton. This same food source is required by all young native fishes and every life stage of native mussels. Native mussels are already one of the most endangered organisms in the U.S. These new competitors could mean the extirpation of many mussel populations and the extinction of rare species” (Tessler 2011). Proposed Solutions As the Asian carp epidemic moves closer and closer to Lake Michigan, conservationists have come up with many potential plans to block the migration of carp species into the Great Lakes. As early as 2006, the Army Corps of Engineers began experimenting with “electric fences”, that were supposed to halt

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the fish in mid stream and force it to turn back. The barriers have since been completed, three in total, costing over $80 million dollars so far. There are additional monthly costs associated with the electricity needed to run these barriers. However, the government seems to be justifying the cost with the billions of dollars of trade that takes place through the Chicago Channel every year. Interestingly enough, it is not until just recently that the barriers have even been turned up to their full operating potential. This will increase the current operating expense of $40-60,000 a month (Williams 2011). The process is described in an interview with Army Corps project manager, Chuck Shea. “The idea is, as a fish swims in, the further it goes it’s getting a bigger and bigger


Photograph by Kenny Lookingbill

shock, and it realizes that going forward is bad, it’s uncomfortable, and it turns around on it’s own free will and goes back downstream” (Williams 2011). Just recently the corps turned up the voltage of these barriers, as well as increased the pose rate, however many fear that this is too little too late. Most ecologists agree that total ecological separation is the only true way to keep the invasive species out of Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes. This would ultimately mean the closure of the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal, as well as the Cal-Sag Channel, and in turn sever the link to the Mississippi River that many businesses rely on to move precious cargo. There has been much pressure from the state of Michigan to close the lakes, as Michigan has over 3000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. (DNR 2011)

Michigan has pushed two major pieces of legislation through the House and Senate, only to have them referred to subcommittees for further consideration. First was the “Close All Routes and Stop Asian Carp Now” bill, (HR52946), on January 21 2010 that called for the closure of locks, electric barriers, and an emergency action plan. The bill was passed to the Subcommittee on Environment and Public Works. The Asian Carp Action Plan, (HR4604) called for the closure of the the locks on the Chicago River, but was referred back to the house subcommittee on water and environment. In mid February, however, Obama’s latest budget cut funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 37% for 2011, but his administration also seems willing to do everything but provide the obvious solution. In mid-February, the U.S.

government committed $78.5 million to conduct further research and build additional barriers - anything but close the canal permanently. By March, the U.S. Geological Survey was enthusing about tapping the funding to “do some really exciting research” and experiments, such as using noisemakers and water cannons on the fish, developing new poisons that are species-specific to carp, or using pheromones to lure carp to designated sites for entrapment.” (Nelson 2010) Many experts worry that there is a possibility that we are already too late, and carp have already passed the barrier. In a New York Times interview, Notre Dame Biologist David Lodge describes the dilemma. “‘It’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle,’’ said Mr. Lodge, Fishing-Headquarters | Page 92


ASIAN CARP IMPACT

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who heads the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative. ‘’It’s not like other forms of pollution, where we can stop pouring carbon dioxide into the environment or stop discharging raw sewage, and things will get better. Once you’ve put a bunch of carp in an environment and they start reproducing, you can stop putting them in but they will still keep spreading” (Lyderson 2011). This is the main concern voiced by many scientists who cite recent DNA surveys that have found Asian carp molecular DNA in water that is on the Lake Michigan side of the barriers. As a researcher and scientist, Kenny Lookingbill states, “A lot of biologists believe that there are already carp in the big lake. Problem is, we really have to watch what we say to the media and choose our words carefully to avoid any potential backlash.” Lookingbill goes on to say, “The state doesn’t like state officials expressing blatant opinions on controversial issues such as the shipping canal because we are supposed to be “scientists”, not opinionates.” Asian carp have been caught in Lake Erie, and one was even found in Calumet Harbor, a sure sign that the species is at the very least, present in the Great lakes. Whether or not there is any breeding happening is an entirely separate argument however, and that is what ecologists fear most. “Fisheries in the Great Lakes could be vastly affected by the introduction of these two fish species. However, some scientists believe that these fishes may not become well established in Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is a large, deep lake that is relatively nutrient poor, which indicates that the lake may not provide an adequate food source for the voracious ap-

petite of these invasive fishes. Of major concern is the possibility that these fish may migrate from Lake Michigan into the shallower, nutrient-rich waters of Lake Erie” (Tessler 2011) This potentially threatens multi million dollars of commercial fishing, as well as the health of the world famous walleye fishery in Lake Erie. Proponents of closing the Chicago locks, and thus sealing the passage to the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, cite a 1929 Supreme Court ruling that gives them a legal right to seal the locks. Other Great Lakes states were not necessarily happy with Chicago’s original decision to open the canal, and took the matter to the Supreme Court by 1925. In its ruling in the case, “Wisconsin vs. Illinois” (1929), the Supreme Court allowed the Chicago Diversion to continue, but only under a negotiated Court order that is supposed to strictly regulate the amount of water that Illinois can withdraw from Lake Michigan. And the Supreme Court left open the possibility that it could change its mind if the Diversion were shown to cause harm in the future…” Nelson goes on to comment, “Now, Michigan and its Great Lakes allies are saying that, because of the Asian carp threat, it’s time to reopen the “Wisconsin vs. Illinois” case and consider a permanent disconnection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi” (Nelson 2010). In other words, they are proposing to close the Canal/ Chicago Diversion for good.

the Calumet River. The Army Corps of engineers have put many obstacles in place for the fish to enter the system, however without achieving total ecological separation. Sealing off the locks and closing the access to the rivers is not a cut and dry solution, however, as it would cut the vital cargo transportation link from the Saint Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama has been reluctant to close it for this very reason, however many fear that this reluctance could end up causing the destruction and degradation of the Great Lakes fishery. Millions of dollars are invested into the Great Lakes every year in order to maintain its $7 billion dollar sport fishing industry, an industry Great Lakes states may not be able to afford to lose. It’s no wonder that Michigan is at the forefront of the debate, with over 3000 miles of shoreline, and an already weakened economy since the great downfall of the great Motor City. Should the silver and bighead carp find a foothold in the Great Lakes waterway, thousands of jobs could be lost and many businesses would imminently shut down. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the electric barrier must be evaluated at its new, higher, energy level, and other means should still be explored to stop the advance of this nuisance species. If carp continue to show up on the lake side of the barrier, the Army Corps should take immediate action to seal the locks until further safeguards can be installed. The beauty of the lock system that is in place, is that it can Conclusions be opened and closed, and does not need to be a permanent solution. If It is clear that the possibility the carp are allowed to continue to exists for invasive Asian carp to en- migrate into the lake, the damages ter the Great Lakes waterway via will be irreparable. priority vectors in the Chicago SaniFishing-Headquarters | Page 94 tary and Shipping Canal, as well as


ASIAN CARP IMPACT Silver carp attract the most attention, because they leap 10 to 15 feet out of the water when spooked by boats, sometimes blasting through the surface in shoals. Many boaters have suffered injuries from the jumping carp, and boating on the affected waters has changed dramatically with the addition of chain fence around the cockpit of boats to protect boaters from the flying menaces, as well as other precautions being taken. Also notable is the advent of bow fishing for these species of fish, which offers fishermen and hunters alike a unique opportunity to rid the water of these fish and enjoy a sporting day on the water at the same time.

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Photograph by Kenny Lookingbill Fishing-Headquarters | Page 96


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Photograph by Kenny Lookingbill

Photo courtesy, Jim Gronaw.


LEARNING TO FI

Acquainting yourself with new bodies of wat But with research and homework

By Andre

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ďż˝


ISH NEW LAKES

ter while bass fishing is an intimidating task. k, it’s easier than you may think.

ew Ragas Photograph by Jacob Saylor Fishing-Headquarters | Page 104


A GUIDE TO FISHING NEW LAKES

Photograph by Bill Pohlmann

Learning to fish a new lake and being able to catch fish from it will not make you an instant expert. However, if you follow these steps, I guarantee that it will make you a better fisherman, teach you self-confidence, and lessen the reliance that is put on guides and other anglers. west each year and loves to explore, learning to fish them isn’t as difficult as it seems. It’s actually become a routine that has led to exceptional results and has turned me into a better, more-rounded angler. Imagine being able to fish every day, spending as much time on the water as you desire. Some folks are privileged to do this while othBy: Andrew Ragas ers aren’t. In a perfect world this Editor In-Chief would be possible for everyone. andrew@fishing-headquarters.com It’s too bad that time is such a valuable commodity. Although time is one of the best resources available for learning to fish new lakes, most dedicated fishermen are unwilling earning to fish a new, un- to utilize it. As good as it sounds, familiar body of water is an intimi- time is an impractical option. Those dating task. Most fishermen endure who fish new lakes want immediate these challenges whether it’s fishing results, and sometimes time cannot for tournaments, guiding, or leisure. guarantee it. With the advent of new and As one who frequently fishes new lakes throughout the Upper Mid- advanced technologies such as

L

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down and side imaging sonars, and incredibly accurate GPS mapping systems and chart-plotting, the process of learning new lakes has become greatly simplified. In addition to technologies and the learning curves they bring, we currently live in an information age in which we have access to published information that can be found both online and in print. This information includes contour maps, surveys, articles, and more. The availability of technology and published resources makes learning a new lake faster and easier than ever imagined. Each year I am inundated with inquiries from friends and other anglers who have never taken it upon themselves to learn how to fish new lakes, and who simply don’t know where to begin. “What do you do to successfully fish new lakes?” they ask. This is a complicated answer, �


with several different parts, and involves fitting the puzzle pieces together. Research: Do Homework In order to learn a new lake, anglers must be willing to do some homework. This involves research and information gathering. Remember when you were in college and likely spent hours gathering research in order to help support your thesis for completing a big term paper? As unique as it seems, doing your research for fishing is very similar and can be just as complicated. Only it is more fun, involves the science of locating fish, and requires significantly less time. Learning to fish a new lake heavily involves researching the lakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ecological make-up. This includes its topography, fishery, and history. The first thing to know is its type of water. For instance, is it a reservoir or a natural lake? Next, determine its lake type. Is it a eutrophic, mesotrophic, or oligotrophic lake? Finally, look into its fishery, especially population size and stocking information. Determine its abundant species and what their average and trophy sizes are. When I do my research on a particular lake, I like to do my homework weeks before the trip is scheduled. This gives me ample time to know everything that needs to be known about the particular place I will fish. For instance, I typically use the internet for looking up fishing reports and reviews, fish stocking summaries, and angling history. I may even call the local bait shops, guides, and other experienced anglers if I personally know them. In addition, I utilize any accessible maps that may aid in navigation and public access. These include topo-

Photograph by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters | Page 116


A GUIDE TO FISHING NEW LAKES

graphic downloads supplied by the DNR as well as a gazetteer. In addition to internet and maps, I also have a propensity to purchase lake profile booklets that are often compiled by professional guides, and produced by mapping software companies. By having an idea of the lake’s make up and composition, you will have insight as to what the lake’s topography is and the type of fishery it may comprise. This preliminary research is invaluable, and is the first piece of the puzzle. Topography: Reading Contours Understanding topography or the structure of the lake is the second phase. In order to be successful at picking apart a new lake you must be good at map reading. The most common maps used for fishing and navigation are topographic and hydrographic maps that display contours, depths, and cover. A good map reader is one who can follow contours and has an exFishing-Headquarters.com

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cellent sense of direction without the aid of a compass or GPS. Factors that determine a good map reader are the understanding of underwater structure, deciphering shallow from deep water environments, locating sharp breaks, and positioning the boat at specific locations that are shown on the map. Being able to comprehend a lake map and visualize its composition will give you a tour of the lake, and make you a much better angler. As an angler whose boat isn’t equipped with the finest available technologies or GPS mapping, I rely on my contour reading exclusively through map print-outs and what’s in my photographic memory and what I can visualize. I must admit, having everything I need in my head is a talent. When researching the topography of a new lake, I use as many different maps I can obtain of each lake. Examples are DNR downloads, store purchased, or handdrawn maps whether it be mine or

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a guides. Despite being of the same lake, I advise on using as many maps as possible because all are recorded and detailed differently. Ecology: Understanding the Lake Once research is conducted and information is gathered, it’s time to dissect everything that comprises the lake that will be fished. Some questions to ponder about your lake of choice could be the following: • What are its acreage and maximum/mean depths? • Is there a fishable population of targeted species (in our case, bass)? • What species of fish is the lake being managed for? • Is the fish population stocked or naturally-reproducing? • What are its forage species? • Does the lake have public access? • What is its water clarity? • What are its primary sources of fish habitat and cover? �


In order to be successful at picking apart a new lake you must be good at map reading. The most common maps used for ďŹ shing and navigation are topographic and hydrographic maps that display contours, depths, and cover. A good map reader is one who can follow contours and has an excellent sense of navigation and direction without the aid of a compass or GPS. Photograph by Andrew Ragas

Humminbird 898c SI w/ Side Imaging Sonar & GPS

Humminbird 597CI SI Combo w/ Side Imaging Sonar & GPS Fishing-Headquarters | Page 108


A GUIDE TO FISHING NEW LAKES

Photograph by Frank Weilnhammer

• What lake type is it, and what bottom types does it have? Having an understanding for the ecology and overall complexion of the lake ultimately prepares anglers for what should be expected. Once the facts are known, it’s time to adequately gear up and head to the lake.

in the water, you must be willing to temporarily put down the fishing rods and explore with the boat’s electronics and a good lake map. When out on the lake for the first time, it is important to learn how to navigate your way around the lake, and to pay close attention to the areas that were narrowed down from all the research that was done. On the Water Lessons No matter how good the best fishermen in the world are, no one The drive en route to the new can learn a new body of water withlake and acquainting myself with its in a day. It is physically and mentalboat landing is what I always look ly impossible. On most lakes, it reforward to. Since it’s an adrenaline quires days, if not weeks, to acquire rush, who needs an early morning the most elementary understanding cup of coffee? I always get excited of its layout and dynamics. over the fact of fishing new, unfaI have a unique routine when miliar waters. All the homework and it comes to exploring the lake and research that has been done has ulti- getting a feel for it. Regardless of mately prepared me for this point. size, whether it is a small 100 acre Once the boat is unloaded and lake or a large several thousand acre Fishing-Headquarters.com

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lake, I always break the lake down into sections on my map and immediately head towards its likely highpercentage areas that correlate best to fish movements and the specific time of year I am fishing. This eliminates the chances of wasting precious fishing time on unproductive areas and dead water. Depending on the lake’s acreage, I like to dedicate as little as 15 minutes to as much as an hour by motoring around the lake to see what it may have to offer. I often begin by slowly cruising along the shorelines, paying close attention to my sonar in observing the depths, and where the drop-offs, bottom gradients, and contours are in relation to my maps. In addition, I will also look for man-made cover such as piers, boat slips, and any natural cover such as downed wood, rocks, and weedbeds. Final-


ly, I will look for humps and bars if present on the lake. These are all high percentage areas that are likely to hold fish throughout the season. While exploring the lake, attention to detail is critical. Always observe transitions such as changes in the bottom composition, weed growth, and the shorelines. In addition, see where other people are fishing and check your maps to see what types of structure and area they are on. Following the tour of the lake, reviewing everything it has to offer and eliminating the non-productive areas, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to finally break out the rods and fish. Return to the areas that exhibited potential, located fish, and put all your information and research into use by catching them. Begin by fishing with search lures such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and anything else that will allow timely water coverage. If the fish are there, search lures will usually lead to immediate results and generate conclusions. Once fish are caught, and their behaviors are observed, then a pattern is established and it becomes suitable to then fish with precise applications. Learning to fish a new lake and being able to catch fish from it will not make you an instant expert. However, if you follow these steps, I guarantee that it will make you a better fisherman, teach you self-confidence, and lessen the reliance that is put on guides and other anglers. It takes a lot of studying, effort, and time on the water to learn a lakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dynamics and how to fish it. But when all can be successfully done by an angler individually, the task of learning a new lake becomes worth it and will add to the repertoire of angling accomplishments. Photograph by Jacob Saylor ďż˝

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Once the boat is unloaded and in the water, you must be willing to temporarily put down the fishing rods and explore with the boat’s electronics and a good lake map. When out on the lake for the first time, it is important to learn how to navigate your way around the lake, and to pay close attention to the areas that were narrowed down from all the research that was done. I have a unique routine when it comes to exploring the lake and getting a feel for it. Regardless of size, whether it is a small 100 acre lake or a large several thousand acre lake, I always break the lake down into sections on my map and immediately head towards its likely high-percentage areas that correlate best to fish movements and the specific time of year I am fishing. This eliminates the chances of wasting precious fishing time on unproductive areas and dead water. Depending on the lake’s acreage, I like to dedicate as little as 15 minutes to as much as an hour by motoring around the lake to see what it may have to offer. I often begin by slowly cruising along the shorelines, paying close attention to my sonar in observing the depths, and where the drop-offs, bottom gradients, and contours are in relation to my maps. In addition, I will also look for man-made cover such as piers, boat slips, and any natural cover such as downed wood, rocks, and weedbeds. Finally, I will look for humps and bars if present on the lake. These are all high percentage areas that are likely to hold fish throughout the season. While exploring the lake, attention to detail is critical. Always observe transitions such as changes in the bottom composition, weed growth, and the shorelines. In addition, see where other people are fishing and check your maps to see what types of structure and area they are on. Photograph by Paul Ragas

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A GUIDE TO FISHING NEW LAKES

Photograph by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters.com

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December / January / February, 2012


Learning to fish a new lake heavily involves researching the lake’s ecological make-up. This includes its topography, fishery, and history. The first thing to know is its type of water. For instance, is it a reservoir or a natural lake? Next, determine its lake type. Is it a eutrophic, mesotrophic, or oligotrophic PhotographDetermine by Andrew Ragas lake? Finally, look into its fishery, especially population size and stocking information. its abundant species and what their average and trophy sizes are. � Fishing-Headquarters | Page 114


A GUIDE TO FISHING NEW LAKES

When researching the topography of a new lake, I use as many different maps I can obtain of each lake. Examples are DNR downloads, as well as store purchased, or hand-drawn maps whether it be mine or a guides. Despite being of the same lake, I advise on using as many maps as possible because all are recorded and detailed differently. Fishing-Headquarters.com

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December / January / February, 2012

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Photograph by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters | Page 116


A GUIDE TO FISHING NEW LAKES

When I do my research on a particular lake, I like to do my homework weeks before the trip is scheduled. This gives me ample time to know everything that needs to be known about the particular place I will fish. For instance, I typically use the internet for looking up fishing reports and reviews, fish stocking summaries, and angling history. I may even call the local bait shops, guides, and other experienced anglers if I personally know them. In addition, I utilize any accessible maps that may aid in navigation and public access. These include topographic downloads supplied by the DNR as well as a gazetteer. Fishing-Headquarters.com

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December / January / February, 2012


Photograph by Andrew Ragas ďż˝

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THE FINAL WORD.

ADVERTISE WITH FISHING HEADQUARTERS. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not desperate, although acquiring real day jobs involving catching fish for a living would be nice. We just want to earn some benefits from our hours invested, and we would like to reward our designers and contributors for their damn good work. We want to compensate our contributors by offering them your gear and products, and promotional fishing trips for future showcasing and articles. All for your advertisement. Half a million website visits per year / 5,000+ individual E-Mag readers. Please help us so that we can help YOU! Fishing-Headquarters.com

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December / January / February, 2012


Fishing-Headquarters.com has evolved into an excellent and informative online resource for multi-species fishing in North America. We offer our several hundred members an interactive and multi-media website that allows the free exchange and promotion of fishing and all that encompasses it. Our website was established on January 1, 2007. Since our inception, we have drawn nearly 600 registered members and attracted several thousands of visitors who read and browse on a daily basis. In addition, we have reached yearly website page views of 5 million, and our homepage receives half a million visits per each calendar year. Among Google and other popular search engines, when searching for “Multi Species Fishing” and other related keywords, we are ranked among the top ten of all searches. This proves how we are continuously growing, and becoming more popular in the realm of sport fishing. Click Image to read copy of our 2012 Media Kit.

Need more information? http://www.fishing-headquarters.com/mediakit.html

Please contact us at:

info@fishing-headquarters.com

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 122


Click this Button

Follow Fishing-Headquarters on Facebook! Receive the latest and most up-to-date news and information for the Fishing-Headquarters on Facebook. Almost 700 fans and still counting. Fan # 1,000 will receive a prize package courtesy of FHQ website sponsors. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fishing-Headquarters/56986315418


March / April 2012

Early Spring Issue • Big City Fishing: Chicago Smallmouth Bass • Tackle Crafting & Lure Making • Musky on the Fly - Part II • Southern Comfort Snook, Tarpon & Reds • Feeding Frenzy Pike • Plus More!

Expected Release Date: March 1, 2012.

SUBSCRIBE CLICK ICON BELOW

For article and photo submissions and advertising, contact us at:

info@fishing-headquarters.com

Photograph by Andrew Ragas

Fishing-Headquarters Magazine  

Volume 2, Issue 1, Number 7 of Fishing-Headquarters Magazine :: December 2011 & January, February 2012 :: Winter Issue.

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